The challenge with starting a business using your own savings, is you have to try to achieve elegance while being stingy.

A few of my challenges at the moment:

I need a legal opinion on my site so I can get public indemnity insurance. Just to get the Terms of Use document written is $4000. I do not have this money. I also need further advice to avoid being sued for copyright infringement, which with my type of site, is a risk. I cannot afford to do this – perhaps later when/if I have secured venture capital funding or when the site is making money, but right now, this money does not exist. So I have been asking my lawyer friends to help, which has meant I have my Terms of Use document written, but they don’t feel very sure about the copyright protection side of things. I am taking a gamble that I will be safe for now.

Although my site is functioning well and is nice design-wise, the Homepage needs a bit more va-va-voom. Everyone I have shown it to is very forthcoming with what is wrong with it: what is harder is getting anyone to be more specific about what actually should be done to make it better. The conclusion is that I need a brilliant designer to jazz it up. But brilliant designers do not come cheap. So what to do? Well, I have a colleague at work who might be willing to do it for a little bit of money, he is an excellent designer and web specialist, so if this pans out, it will be great.

Hosting is very expensive! To ensure maximum up-time, independence, safety from being labeled as spam, etc, I have gone the path of a dedicated server, but they are hideously expensive, and I just don’t have the traffic to warrant several hundred dollars a month for a top notch machine. So, once again, I need to make concessions to accommodate budget. I have gone for a very budget dedicated server option, but the sacrifice is speed. It’s a dangerous concession to make, as although I can pre-warn friends coming to the site that its slow for this reason, once the site launches to the mass market, I can’t be whispering into everyone’s ears to be patient. The ramifications are pretty awful too – if its too slow, they won’t come back. But is it worth spending thousands on this now, thousands I do not have?

So… these are just a few of the many many concessions I have to make as I launch my business. I am constantly evaluating if an expense is warranted, how I can get something for free, how I can delay expense… I think this must be very normal for a web startup, and it certainly stokes the fires of creativity as I have to work out how I can get maximum benefit for minimum cost.